One of the most special activities in which I participate all year is a seder for the Jewish Foundation for Group Homes which is an organization that serves the developmentally disabled. Last night I led the seder and we had a meaningful discussion about the symbol of the salt water which was particularly salty this year.
We talked about the tears that our ancestors shed over the bitterness of slavery. Then we talked about the ongoing sadness that so many in our world face each day. Our discussion was a stark reminder that we live in a world that is in need of tikkun(healing) and that each one of us needs to think of one cause that is important for us so that we can alleviate a small piece of the suffering in our world.
What is always so inspirational to me is that these folks who have plenty to be upset about, given that they are disabled, are always so eager to want to make things better for others. I couldn’t help but think of all the things that make me feel that there is salt water and sadness in my life, and yet in reality I have nothing to personally shed tears over.
I hope that as we gather for our seders, we will think about how blessed most of us are and that perhaps we can find special ways in which we can share our blessings with others.
Last Shabbat I spoke at a BBYO gathering where the theme was “If Not Now, When?” We talked about the importance of finding ways at each stage of our lives to try to improve our world in ways that only our own uniqueness can facilitate.
May Elijah’s presence inspire us all to find ways in which to lessen the salt water in our world. Remember the Yiddish proverb that says if you believe that the person sitting next to you at the Passover seder is the messiah and is only waiting for you to do a simple act of kindness or say a kind word….Then if it turns out that the person is not really the Messiah, it won’t really matter especially if each of us continues to act kindly and speak words of blessing.
May each of you enjoy a liberating and peaceful Passover with people with whom you are close. Please join us at the seders either the first or second night at GMU and share the blessings of our friendship,
Hag Sameach and Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi Bruce Aft